MAD DADS Celebrates 10 Years Of Patrolling, Hopes To Continue Growth
This year marks a decade since a group of local men began a chapter of the national faith-based organization MAD DADS in the Pittsburgh region.
MAD DADS stands for Men Against Destruction, Defending Against Drugs and Social-Disorder and in the last 10 years, membership has grown from about a dozen members to nearly 60.
Membership is key to MAD DADS’ signature program, street patrol. It consists of members going out into neighborhoods to offer a positive social presence. They aim to address drugs, gangs and violence through conversation.
Pittsburgh MAD DADS President and CEO George Spencer said, while his group regularly patrols Wilkinsburg, Homewood and East Hills, he wants to see teams active throughout the county.
“Our goal is to expand our recruitment to the point where it gets beyond the same team of people going everywhere,” Spencer said. “What we’re striving to do is to recruit men who will say, ‘Look, where I live, I’ll be responsible for.’”
Spencer said most of the youth he sees are in need of guidance. He said MAD DADs is now better able to provide that, thanks to its new office space in the East Hills Community Center.
“It gives us an opportunity for when we engage people on the streets, now we can say well, ‘How about stop over at the office. Having a problem looking for a job? Well the community center has a resource person that helps people with that, so why don’t you come on up,’” he said.
MAD DADS will also celebrate its decade-long history with a gala at the August Wilson Center on Sept. 18.